Technological colleges begin strike, demand state funding

Colleges request that the Treasury approves a budget of NIS 140 million to be distributed over five years to technical education.

Hadassah College campus 370 (photo credit: Yagil Tzebaoni)
Hadassah College campus 370
(photo credit: Yagil Tzebaoni)
Some 53 technological colleges across the country began a strike on Sunday, calling on the government to allocate more funds to their operation.
The colleges request that the Treasury approve a budget of NIS 140 million to be distributed over five years to technical education, NIS 80m. of which would be allocated for the current academic year.
After several discussions held between the parties in recent months, the Finance Ministry agreed to a budget of NIS 90 million, a solution that was rejected by most of the institutions except for the technology colleges belonging to the ORT network, which did not go on strike on Sunday.
Colleges of the Amal network also chose to hold studies as usual.
The Forum of Technological Colleges had already suspended classes for two hours last Monday in protest, and had established a protest tent in front of the Knesset.
The representative of the forum, Yaakov Dor, wrote on the Facebook page for the struggle last week that the forum “expects the minister of finance and the minister of the economy to take responsibility for a solution to the crisis as soon as possible” and avoid severe damage to the students.
The National Union of Israeli Students joined the struggle last week and mobilized with the technological colleges staffs at their protest encampment in front of the Knesset in order to call on the government to “immediately find a solution that will prevent the collapse of the colleges and harm caused to the future of 24,000 students.”
“In recent days, we are witnessing a wave of layoffs in the economy,” said Ori Reshtick, chairman of the NUIS. “The government of Israel has the ability to take care of the training of tens of thousands of young engineers, whom the economy is crying out for.
Opposition leader and Labor Party MK Shelly Yacimovich also addressed the issue on Sunday, calling on Finance Minister Yair Lapid to urgently meet with the heads of technical colleges and “stop draining their budget.”
“Their activity greatly contributes to the economic and social sphere, but in practice they are forced to operate without a budget that allows them to continue to exist,” Yacimovich said in a statement.
The Ministries of Finance and Economy announced in a joint statement that they are preparing to implement the agreed NIS 90 million multi-year budget for technological colleges, which they said will lead to a significant change in practical engineering studies.